5 Tools To Help Create a Healthy Lifestyle All Year Round
It’s amazing how starting the year off in a healthy direction can play into how you feel the rest of the year. Our bodies are like machines that need to be fueled toward health every day, and just like if you didn’t change the oil in your car twice a year, your body won’t function as well if it’s not properly cared for on a daily basis.
Here are five things you can do in 2017 to last you from January-December:
1) Eat Breakfast
I know, I know. Everyone always says that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet we still find ourselves skipping it. Why? It can be hard to find a healthy breakfast option that is cheap, delicious, and that you don’t have to prepare in advance, but options are out there. The easiest way to go about it? Try a few different options and find the one that works with your flow. Try to make breakfast the night before, or see if smoothie or protein shake will meet your needs. Once you find a recipe that you believe in, it won’t be difficult to integrate it into your daily rhythm.
Here are a few recipes that require little work and you can prepare ahead of time:
2) Meditation/Breathing Exercises
Many have found meditation and breathing exercises helpful to keep their life calm and their anxiety down. Some practice in the form of yoga, others repeat breath prayers, and some participate in rhythmatic exercises to calm their minds. Meditation tends to be a great practice for those who deal with anxiety by creating space to clear the mind and let go of stress. Those who use it as part of their spiritual practice also find it helpful in remembering their purpose and connecting with their Creator. Regardless of how you use it, incorporating meditation and breathing exercises can create an overall sense of peace to breathe out of you throughout the year.
3) Physical Exercise
Exercise is one of those things that can be daunting to begin, especially if your body is still recovering from all of those holiday feasts just a little over a month ago. But if fear keeps you from beginning, unhealthy habits will continue to seep in. If you are someone who needs a challenge, consider joining a program like the 21 Day Fix, or signing up for a 5K or half-marathon. When people have goals and end dates, they often seem more attainable and raise motivation.
If the thought of competition and pushing yourself seems out of reach, start with a more realistic goal. Try walking to your nearest coffee shop or restaurant instead of driving once a week, or sign up for yoga classes. Find something that gives you energy and is enjoyable. Maybe the first time you hike a peak won’t be that enjoyable, but the view will be worth it; and each time you climb another you will gain more energy.
This might not sound obvious, but practicing gratitude on a regular basis can significantly improve your mental state. When money is tight and you aren’t sure where your next paycheck will come from, being grateful for a roof over your head and that can of SpaghettiOs in the fridge can help you recognize the gifts that you do have. If your mind tends to drag toward the negative, gratitude can help refocus your thoughts and create a more positive, healthy outlook on life. Doubtful that it will make a difference? Try it out for a week and see what you notice!
Community is a key marker of health. We are communal beings and in need of others for survival, joy, and collaboration. By surrounding yourself with other people that you can invest in, and vice versa, you can awaken new areas of your brain and see new areas where you can contribute in the world. Looking for people to connect with? Consider finding a MeetUp group with people who have similar interests, or start attending your local town council meetings and find out what’s important for those in your neighborhood. Find a regular spot in town (coffee shop, restaurant, hairdresser) and try showing up at a similar time each day. Creating regular rhythms where you are running into the same people can help build deep and meaningful community over time. Community plays an integral role in your psychological health.
Try integrating these five tools into your everyday life and see how it affects your 2017!